Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Good Old Days and Why Did We Let Them Go??

Years ago I started to notice that a good wage was becoming insufficient to raise a family.  I went back to the boxes of old statements that my wife insisted on keeping and rebuilt a model of our circumstances.  I was living and working in Montreal.  I was a product specialist for a US based multinational.  I was earning good salary and commissions ($30,000).  My wife had stopped work as a nurse as soon as I got the job.  She had become pregnant before the company insurance plan kicked in so we had to pay all the costs ourselves.  There was no medicare in those days.  She got the top OBGYN in Montreal.  He delivered my first son at Catherine Booth Hospital (A large woman’s hospital in NDG).  He was a bit early and showed some jaundice.  They kept him and my wife in the hospital in a private room for 7 days.  The total cost for everything including doctor’s visits was $350.  Of that, the anesthetist took the largest chunk.  I’ve always maintained that I own him lock stock and barrel since I paid for him.  My second son born the next year belongs to the government of Canada.

Other major costs were cars and housing.  We bought our first house in Beaconsfield.  It was a 4 level custom built split surrounded by tall evergreens.  It was very close to the main commuter highway.  We paid $24,250 for the house.  Since the aggregate tax rate on my income was 14%  the house cost us 91% of my annual take home pay.  Since I travelled a lot, I felt my wife needed a car so we went out and purchased a brand new Datsun 510 station wagon.  It was about the size and shape of the Jetta wagon she drives today.  It cost new $2820 or 11% of my annual take home pay.  So, back then on a middle class salary, a family of four with a stay at home mom could by a four bedroom house and a new station wagon for ONE year’ take home pay. 

Today, a similar house and location would be $450,000.  The car would be $25,000.   The $475,000 after tax would require an annual income of $850,000. 

It is easy to see from these simple examples why us older boomers talk so fondly of the good old times.  You know, we had pretty much all the infrastructure then (1970’s) that we have now.  We even had a world class military.  Mom’s could stay home and raise children with values and morals.  Health care was reasonably priced and very responsive.  I once got an earache New Years eve.  I went to the home of a local GP and he gave me a shot of penicillin in rear and sent me back to the party. $15 and 30 minutes.  I’d be happy to pay $150 for the same service today!

It seems as though the malignant nanny state will consume us all if we don’t find a treatment soon.  They wouldn’t dare tell young families today how good we had it before they infected our nation.  There would be a revolution!

1 comment:

TrueBlue said...

It was doable back then because we didn't have the massive public sector that we have now and the oversized unions, both private and public, driving the cost of everything up. I would be ecstatic to pay 12% of my annual salary on a family car, or a 4 bedroom home that I could realistically pay off in 5 to 10 years instead of 30 years!